Content reposted here from RE/MAX® September, Real Estate Advisor, 9/7/2018
Many of us don’t anticipate disasters or a need for an emergency plan, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Whether a natural disaster or a home fire, ensuring you and your family members know what to do in case of emergency is a great way to make sure you don’t lose some of the most valuable things in your life. With just a little time and planning, you can have an emergency plan and kit in place in your home in no time.
This article highlights:
• Making a Plan, • Know What Your Insurance Covers, • Inventory Your Prized Possessions, and • Stockpile Supplies.
Have A Disaster Plan
The last thing you want is for a disaster or emergency to take place and you or your family members don’t know what to do. As part of your preparation, establish a disaster plan. This plan covers what your family should do in case of an emergency, from how to escape every room of your home in case of fire, to who to call if there are no adults at home. List out all exits of the home, all important phone numbers, and copies of all insurance cards and anything else you may need to grab in a hurry. Make sure all adults, teenagers, and any children old enough to get out without assistance within your home know how to exit if something happens and know who to call in case they need help.
Know What Your Home Insurance Covers
As a homeowner, you have home insurance to protect your home when something happens. As the policyholder, talk to your insurance broker to find out what your policy covers and whether you need additional coverage. If you live in an area that is prone to natural disaster, find out if you have coverage for events, such as floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc. Learn what your insurance deductible is so you understand how much money you will need to pay in case of an emergency.
Keep An Inventory Of Your Most Expensive/Prized Items
When an emergency hits, it can be very difficult to take an inventory of all your most prized possessions, especially if you must vacate your home. Before anything bad happens, take a personal inventory of all your valuables. Family heirlooms, antiques, and jewelry are a given, but also think about making digital copies of any old photographs and documents that cannot be replaced. Take pictures of each room and its contents to help with any future insurance claims, and back up your computer to a separate hard drive or the cloud to ensure you don’t lose anything on your personal devices. It’s also a good idea to invest in a fireproof safe, which comes in handy for storage of personal items.
Have A Family Plan
While your home may be prepared for a disaster, does every person in your family know what to do when the time comes? As part of an emergency preparedness plan, make sure every person in your family knows where to go in case of an emergency. This includes determining where your family meets indoors (in case of a tornado or hurricane), in the neighborhood (should you have an emergency that requires you to leave your home), outside of your neighborhood (should an emergency occur and you can’t get back to your home), and outside of your city (in case a disaster makes it impossible for you to go home). Ensure every person in your family (including any children, elderly, and family pets) knows the plan or will be cared for by another family member.
Have A Stockpile Of Supplies On Hand
While many homeowners don’t actively anticipate natural disasters or emergencies, it’s not a bad idea to have some supplies stored in your home just in case. Keeping a supply of bottled water (1 gallon per person, per day), some canned and dried foods, batteries, medications, and other essential items in a dry and accessible area of your home is a good way to ensure you have supplies at the ready should a natural disaster or other event come up. Set a calendar reminder on your phone or home computer to check the supplies every few months to ensure they stay within their proper dates. While it may seem like an unnecessary task, you don’t want to have to scramble to the store at the last minute if a disaster hits.